ENGC86

ENGC86 PORTFOLIO 

The reason why I wanted to include my ENGC86 work on my website is for two reasons. The first reason being, I wanted to bring my journey in this class to a full circle. I started off this course by sending my portfolio to one of my favourite professors, Professor Daniel Tysdal. Though highly unconventional, it was accepted as a means of proof- proof that I do have some background in writing and proof that I am able to meet the creative requirements of the course. The second reason is that, I think of this blog as a means to showcase the various creative sides of me. The creative that lives within me stirs and often yearns to write, so to be able to showcase my work on this platform, a platform that I already strive to perfect is a wonderful feeling. I hope the people reading this are able to see the growth in my work through the weekly writing assignments, through my Maureen Hynes presentation and through my final 7 pieces. My final 7 poems have been through a variety of different workshops and I hope it provides readers an uncanny ability to see themselves in my poetry.

Finally, I just wanted to say thank you to Professor Tysdal. Thank you for inspiring me each and every week with your thoughtful words, your eloquent words of encouragement, your constructive criticism for my weekly assignments, your understanding when my weekly reflections seemed to pile up and fall short and your acceptance of who I am as an individual. You have influenced me in so many ways and I will forever be grateful- thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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FINAL 7 POEMS: 

1.  An Ode to Fadumo: Part 1: Warning Signs

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You see, in this particular experience, there is a beginning, a middle and an end.

The beginning consist of warning signs,

Subtle instances that remind you of what you need to realize, acknowledge and comprehend.

She called my name and asked me to set the table for dinner,

I begrudgingly said okay after the second beckon of my name,

Everything was as it usually is,

Mundane, routine, typical.

Nothing out of the ordinary,

Except it was.

I blink and I missed it.

The tell-tale signs of the inner battle she fought.

Something I did not expect to see was the pain within her eyes,

Replacing her iris.

The pain was a hinderance to the beautiful soul she possessed.

This pain was a constant as it engulfed the room.

It was everywhere as it became more and more noticeable,

The wincing as she tried to finish dinner,

The frown where her smile used to live,

The number of pills she took with her food.

It did not hit me until it was too late.

Part 2: Naive Living: 

 They say, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.

In this case, I was about to find out.

The soft humming of the ventilators haunted me at night.

All the flashing lights within the room

And the medicine cabinet filled with prescriptions

Became the new norm within the household.

I felt terribly for her, as I, a naïve child,

did not know about the struggle she faced on a daily basis.

I did not understand it.

In retrospect, I was far too consumed,

Consumed with my childish affairs,

The latest toy or magazine,

The latest show to hit the screen,

I did not notice until one day a loud screaming shook the house,

My mother jumped out of the bed and ran towards that room,

The one with the lights and humming,

The one that housed the pained and beautiful soul.

Part 3: The End Of The Beginning 

Loss is like a bitter taste in the back of your mouth, one that is a constant,

a constant overflow of emotion as a particular song or memory [can] bring[s] you back

right to that day.

I remember it like it was yesterday- the gleam in her eyes was enough to make anyone cry.

I had never seen pain that up close.

I would have given anything to have traded places.

She smiled faintly as the pain became unbearable. “Not much longer now” the doctor whispered to the rest of the family.

I did not believe it could be over. Just like that, an entire life reduced to one painful sentence,

As we were confined to a four-walled hell, the verdict?

An instant death sentence.

I flash back to memories of us, laughing and singing.  Memories that were once rich with pure joy and love. How can this be the last memory of us?

How can someone who was once so present be gone in an instant?

I swallowed hard as I realized how terribly painful

it is to even fathom a world without you.

A bitter truth wrapped up in an even bitter ending.

I miss you and through this

I will always love you.

NOTES: This is one of the poems I shared in my first workshop. At first I was very hesitant, I had only performed this poem during open mic nights and performances. I had never typed it out or allowed people to read it without my vocal interpretation. The general consensus of feedback that was provided to me by my fellow peers were of the following: “Oh my god, this was so sad :(, Beautifully written, you capture the stages so well!” “The spacing could use some work as it is not necessary for this particular piece.”Nice imagery!”**Just a note that the spacing was just used for that particular set of handouts as I did not want to go onto another page**  “Nice word play!” While there were a few comments about particular words in the poem, I did not change it completely as 1. This poem was written in a place of immense pain, changing it feels like altering the mindset I was in at that moment, 2. The poems were quite positive in the workshops! (An emailed copy of the revised notes will be sent for all the poems)

2. Quiet Pines 

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The air was crisp and with this richness came an ability to breathe in and feel rejuvenated.

 

The sun kissed the tall skyline as

                                                                                                Birds sang their soliloquies and became mute over time,

And I was standing there unchanged.

 

                                                            The illustrious clouds painted a vivid cascade,

                                                   So heartbreakingly beautiful that it was difficult to leave.

 

 

It was difficult to comprehend

 

 

                                                                                    The boundless constraint of nature.

 

 

The quiet was deafening

                                                                                                So I started to sing a song.

 

 

 

The octaves of my voice shook the trees, echoed in the spacious mountains.

 

 

The song reverberates as it reminded me of

 

 

                                                                        the beauty you possessed beyond the pines.

 

I sang this song in tribute to you.

Notes: Not much change in this poem other than the contradiction between the “quiet is deafening” and the “Birds sang their soliloquies” I added in the “and became mute over time” to help tie the contradiction together. I added in words that were more poignant than “echo”. I hope “reverbarates” is a right word, you can tell that I have been watching The CW’s Flash a lot if I used that word (lol!) 

3. HELP

“We are culturally illiterate about aging” -Kathleen Woodward

 

“Old people smell”, “Oncology” “Gerontology

What I have and what I am do not correlate as

These are words used to categorize me and box me in,

Kareishu (Japanese for Old Age)”, “Smell” “Fragile”,

My physical appearance and form is being challenged and warped to fit their ways of living,

Assimilated lens of horrific living.

I am too skinny, too weak, and too small.

I am too old, too much of a bore and too sick.

I am “too” much of everything; and yet my age is used to label me, these words used to diminish me.

Stuck in a box, a 4 by 4 room without any air, hand goes to throat, airways closing

Voice quickly silenced by doctors and nurses and so-called “health care providers”

My family has abandoned me,

my sisters are sick of me.

My grandchildren think of my skin as “too stretchy”.

My only real company is the food lady who comes to provide me with sustenance,

She helps me.

I am poked and prodded by the needles and catheters used to “help” me.

I feel like a pincushion, even worse, road kill

Because of how I feel inside, run over by the very society and family that was supposed to help me.

Help me?

Help me.

I need assistance in a world so frightening and void of delight.

How will I be able to sit here and survive?

The nights are the worse, the saddest as

The soft humming of the ventilators

keep me up, my voice hoarse as I try

and hum my favorite lullaby over the frequency.

I search for distractions to try and help myself,

All the flashing lights within the room

and the medicine cabinet filled with prescriptions

morph into the new normal.

I feel weary within this hollow bed, sunken in like a boat shipwrecked.

I feel ignored and unacknowledged

but I will always help myself.

NOTE: For this poem, I notice Professor Tysdal’s comment that says “intrigued by the underlines” and many of the comments in the workshops were, “what’s with the underlines?” “What is the point?” To this, I forgot to mention that I used hyperlinks when I first created this poem in HLTD50. The hyperlinks were homage to the HLTD50 Wikipedia Day of Action “Actipedia” as it allowed us to engage with the ways in which health is showcased and portrayed on platforms like Wikipedia. I was surprised to find out the pages for “Old age” connected to “Old people smell” which then connected to “Old person smell.” Often times, the role of an individual who is labeled as “old” is often disenfranchised by the government, by society and by people in general. I wanted to see what it would be like to envision my aunt and the perspectives she had with the health care system before she passed away. This poem and “Fadumo” were both experiences of me trying to step into her shoes and pay homage to the way she viewed life, not from a point of suffering but of a point of trying to live peacefully despite the intervention and interruption of pain. 

4. Disenfranchised Thoughts

I’m always wondering where you are and whether or not

You are okay,

Thoughts swirl around my dizzy head, ideas become clouded in

About all the what-ifs,

Could-haves, Would-haves, Should-haves.

About the road not taken and regretting the road walked on,

I find myself in a constant state of dreaming, willing my body to awaken and yet I

Dream about the days where we would just sit and laugh

as you would recall gentle stories about your life before I was in it.

Time would fly by as moments felt like centuries and feelings of luck just surrounded me.

I dream about the future that could have occurred

The alternate timeline of our love.

The one where all of the hallmark clichés ring true

And yet I see it and see through the holographic mirage

What would it have been like to have you apart of my life?

As a permanent fixture and not just a passing influencer of my heart.

Not the fake and toxic version of you,

the one that makes flowers welt,

makes the sun disappear beyond the horizon

The one that makes children cry and

steals candy from babies

The one that has an evil soul,

One filled with regret and hatred

I dream about the version I idolized

The version that was limited edition

The one that helps me come alive.

But it does not do well to dwell on the disenfranchised

It does not do well to dwell on the could have been,

Dreams will be the only way we can be together again.

NOTES: I love the imagery in this poem! I think the class and Professor Tysdal did too.  I feel like it was quite well received towards the second part of the poem. I changed the Could’ves, Should’ves, Would’ves to the elongated “Could-haves, Would-haves, Should-haves” as Daniel and Jaymie pointed out spelling it out would look better and throw the reader off of a cliche. I tried to make it more concise and to the point after those comments. 

5.  TREES

Standing under an apple tree, waiting for oranges,

I waited for inevitable love but he was not committed.

My heart intertwined with the vines from the tree,

I wanted the outcome to be different for me.

I hoped and dreamed for a chance with you,

One not clouded by the tribulations of the past.

I was standing under an apple tree and oranges are what I received.

 

Standing under an apple tree, waiting for watermelons,

You look at me as if you expect me to shatter,

Into a trillion unrecoverable pieces, broken beyond repair

A fragile little girl with a visibly wounded psyche.

Years of struggles etched across her forehead,

Little documentations of survival.

I was an exact replica of my mother.

A strong-willed and courageous woman

Who filled a room with a simple smile.

She was a woman who commanded what she wanted

A woman who would stand under an apple tree and

Be graced with apples.

NOTES: The notes for this poem were quite cosmetic. Professor Tysdal coined this to be “one of my strong poems” for my second workshop. Aside from changing sentences like “I was an exact replica of my mirror” from “She was an exact mirror of her mother” and adding in: “Into a trillion unrecoverable pieces, broken beyond repair”. This poem was one of my favourites to write. 

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6.  Temptations Rising

Our eyes meet, begging to have a conversation;
The twinkle in yours draws me in closer and closer.
The intoxication I feel is better than a mediated high,
One that takes me into mindless euphoria,
One that shapes the way I feel for you.
The point of the matter is discussed through a slight touch,
Gentleness contrasted by the flickering of the room luminosities.
I feel enveloped in the cliché of cloud 9,
Words are unspoken,

As our pupils dilated in the tide of lust do the talking
The attraction seems to know no bounds,

A craving that’s filled yet unsatisfied by only touch.
A feeling as if our souls were cascading

Through an ever-flowing stream of emotion,
dancing gently through a monstrous storm.
The sensation you leave me with has me begging for more,
An ideal I cannot consummate.

 

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7. Strangers in the Night 

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of the love is lost.” -Khalil Gibran

Like passing ships in the night, we keep missing each other.

Your presence felt heavily like a gust of wind or a perculation of goosebumps.

We miss out on the little instances of each other’s lives

and the thoughts we would collectively share

the little instances of life muddled up with the big things we post to instagram.

Superficial mirages that portray fake truths.

the funny jokes or experiences we want to tell each other, halted by bitter realities

Our pride gets in the way of reaching out, catching up.

I wonder if seeing the good in you was a bad thing

You see, we are not just made up of one thing– one quality or positive attribute 

We are made up of a multitude of tiny little quirks and characteristics, actions and opinions. 

These little wonders about you shaped my feelings towards you, 

allowed me to disregard the bad in you, 

the awful, 

the ugly. 

Instead I embraced your good

 and let the rest retreat

to the back of my mind. 

Hidden behind the everyday urgencies one faces.

What is said and not meant

is often truths that bubble up

and stay deathly silent

Truths that, when spoken out loud

Fracture bones and shatter hearts.

Truths that do not allow for reconciliations

but rather the endings of relationships

Truths that are blinding to the iris and reconcilable to the soul.

What is meant and not said hinders all.

WEEKLY WRITING ASSIGNMENTS 

Week #3Writing Exercise from The Writing Moment: Chapter 1: Image, Music and Metaphor

From (Page 10, Question 1)

Our eyes meet, begging to have a conversation;
The twinkle in yours draws me in closer and closer.
The intoxication I feel is better than a mediated high,
One that takes me into mindless euphoria,
One that shapes the way I feel for you?
The point of the matter is discussed through a slight touch,
Gentleness contrasted by the flickering of the room luminosities
I feel enveloped in the cliché of cloud 9
Words are unspoken,

As our pupils dilated in the tide of lust do the talking
The attraction seems to know no bounds,

A craving that’s filled yet unsatisfied by only touch
A feeling as if our souls were cascading

Through an ever-flowing stream of emotion,
dancing gently through a monstrous storm.
The sensation you leave me with has me begging for more,
An ideal I cannot consummate.

Week #4: Making Metaphors:

To answer your question, I write poems because it allows me to emotionally and creatively connect with the thoughts and experiences I have on a daily basis. A lot of times, the everyday stresses converge with your thought processes, school, work, romantic and personal connections halted by muddiness in the brain, it is a privilege to be able to release it all into poetry. It is a cathartic experience to be able to experience poetry, by reading and writing it. When you read poetry, you are able to connect with what the speaker and author are trying to convey. The words may make sense to you in a way that speaks volumes to your life experiences. By writing poetry, you are able to release how you are feeling into words that you will later be allowed to reflect on, to ponder, to grow from. I really liked the concept of The Writing Moment 1.10. For the confessional approach, I really liked the notion of expelling your personal experiences to create metaphors for further thinking. A moment that is quite prevalent for me is watching jeopardy with my aunt every single day at 8pm. We would do this because A) The show quickly became our addiction. B) The start of the show was how was an indication of when she would start her medication for the night.

Week #5:

  1. The Writing Moment: 37-58 (Dickinson and O’Hara)

“Sometimes i say to a poem,

“Not now, ‘Can’t you see I am bathing!’

But the poem usually doesn’t care.” -Hafiz

For the role of voice and tradition, the quote of Hafiz is quite inspiring as it allows me to see the process of a writer in full view. The quote really speaks volumes to me as I will sometimes be in the middle of a task or chore and inspiration will kick in. Or I will be feeling a certain type of way and I cannot move onto finish any other task, I have to adhere to the poem first. The feelings that I possess are substantial after reading this quote, it helps me understand my anxiety behind perfection and perfecting a poem so much more. I really liked the Writing Moment 2.2.

-The feeling that often strikes me without explanation is one of yearning. I always want to know what the next thing in my life will look like- the next grade, the next friendship, the next relationship, the next career/job, the next place in my life. While at the same time, I hate the concept of change. It scares me as I do not want to be without my everyday norms- this counterbalance and contradiction is something that I often think about as it overwhelms me to my core. This feeling is often mixed in with feelings of F.O.M.O. Fear of Missing Out. It is quite confusing to understand but all of this hits me towards moments of turbulent change, whether it be at the beginning of a term (the beginning of my last fall semester), the end of a semester, the beginning of a new friendship or chapter or whenever I feel inadequate with my life and my progression. This feeling is quite interesting to see manifest into poetry and written pieces that are scattered around in my blog through various means of writing about life and its tangibility, through writing about writers block and how it’s affected my life or recounting a years worth of lessons towards the end of 2015.

Week #6:

  1. Choose any one of the writing exercises on pages 102-3 and write one poem, which you will submit to me at the start of next class.

3. Sound Poetry: The Ideal Brain Tonic:

Fizzy, bitter and hard to swallow

The rough abrasive nature of it scratches my throat,

It feels so satisfying to drink, a beverage so thick it

Makes you think, a Beverage so nice it makes you want to cry.

Coca-Cola, for the win!

*I tried, I think I submitted a physical poem for this week but here is a made up one on the spot!*

Week #7:

  1. WWA#7:
    1. Choose any one of the writing exercises provided by Bukama (Clarke) or Daniel (Frost) and write one poem, which you will submit to me at the start of next class.
    2. Remember to note which writing exercise you undertook.

Write in the style of Robert Frost:

My humble abode in the center of Scarborough shakes at night,

The wind ravaging the windows on the top floor.

My children become frightened as the wind grows louder,

Almost as loud as a monster, one determined to get inside at night.

The wind sways the trees, soft rumbles growing louder by the minute.

The scratching of the oak tree against the door,

resembles that of long and unruly nails on a chalkboard,

Sounds so deafening, it bursts eardrums beyond repair.

My humble abode in Scarborough is not so humble any more.

Week #8:

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  1. WWA#8:
    1. Choose any one of the writing exercises provided by your classmates (though not one of your own) and write one Hynesian poem, which you will submit to me at the start of next class. *I was unable to retrieve a Hynesian poem :(*
    2. Remember to note which writing exercise you undertook.

She tries to not read too much into it

The role love takes the backburner in her life.

She brushes it off as she cares for the family,

“Smoothes out calfskin vellum, sets pots of verdigris”.

She politely smiles as they talk about her age and unsuitability.

They discuss her age,

the way she has put on weight,

the wrinkles on her face.

She sighs audibly as an announcement of her discontentment.

All she wants is to go to school and get her education,

Maybe a suitor in between it all

Who says you can have it all?

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Week #9:

  1. WWA#9: Write a poem about meeting Maureen Hynes. Anything goes.

A beautiful soul- Maureen Hynes.

A beautiful mind-Maureen Hynes.

A beautiful smile-Maureen Hynes.

Nothing can compare to the exquisite presence of Maureen Hynes.

Maureen Hynes, Thank you.

Week #10: The Writing Moment: 161-169, 175-182, 183-185

  1. WWA#10:
    1. Choose any one of the writing exercises provided by Sara (cummings), Halima (Hughes), or Serena (Collins) and write one poem, which you will submit to me at the start of next class.
    2. Remember to note which writing exercise you undertook.

POEM: satrical e.e cummmings prompt 

love is like a sword its sharpest point cuts points into my heart, rips it open and stabs it whole

love is like a paper cut it bleeds like hell but it feels nice when it recovers.

hate is like a microwave you wait till the last second but still have to hear the sound

love and hate relate

MAUREEN HYNES PRESENTATION: 

The poems that I have chosen are quite intriguing in the ways in which they showcase themes of love. The chapter that they are under is titled “A thousand stones” which is reminiscent of the way some people tribute love and the physical elements of love and tie it to “A thousand roses”. Perhaps “roses” is switched for “stones” because love hurts? That would be the obvious and metaphorical reading of that title, but in thinking about Hynes work, her words are a tribute to the ways in which an individual can go through multiple layers of life. They can go through a variety of experiences that best represent the themes in their lives; love, loss, death, moving on, eyebrows. The multi-faceted layers of her poems help to reveal that not all experiences are one dimensional but they are a collection of life’s trials and tribulations. What is my assigned Hynes tool?  The role of imagery is a tool that is portrayed in “Kindly Stops”, “Plaza De Puerto De Moros” and “Mailbox”.

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The newly formed ideas showcase the growth of her work. In “Kindly Stops”, there is a multifaceted focus on the notion of travel showcased through her prolific language and stylistic manner. ‘Kindly Stops’ is a poem that makes the reader feel as though they are on a vacation with the love of their life. It has a interpersonal feel to it as the speaker often talks about “The car of love drove into the rundown part of town”, the vehicle of “love” being almost immediately employed in this section. The poem continues to acknowledge the pathway behind love taking the reader somewhere that is beyond the literal.

This brings us to the question of What are the three key traits of Hynes poetry? I would say the first trait is to convey powerful emotion. This allows for the reader to be giving the opportunity to see themselves or the selves that they wish to be in her words. In “Kindly Stops”, you are brought alongside the speaker in a visceral journey of love. The imagery portrayed is powerful in its uncanny ability to showcase powerful emotion. “The car of love crawled into the rundown part of town,” (LOVE IS THE VEHICLE!!!!), “The way they signalled each turret, north south east west, with a kiss got me missing you”. In “Plaza De Puerto De Moros”, imagery is created through a single word. The words she uses are not for “filler” or for space length, each word is carefully chosen to help evoke powerful emotion. Hynes employed my device of powerful emotion through this as she says  “Reminds me of love”, “The swallows are threading their lives together” and “Darling, I said, over almonds and olives and Spanish beer”. You are able to feel as though you are there with the speaker, a participant in the love that is occurring between two characters. In “Mailbox”, the imagery is most poignant because of how sad it is. I distinctly remember Maureen telling us that “Mailbox” is the one poem that she never reads out loud, she never performs. This can be from how heartbreaking the memory associated with the words are. It creates such powerful emotion through its imagery. How does Hynes employ my assigned tool of imagery? Hynes employed my chosen device of powerful emotion through this as she says:  “All night my dreams snowed letters”. Can you even imagine that?! Snowing letters? That kind of imagery just takes your breath away. Another example is when Hynes employs my device of powerful emotion where she says: “Mid-day I found my forgotten letter to you in the bottom of my pack, stamped and addressed, promises to visit next spring” “Ah, god, Michael, which is worse, a farewell or none at all?“When I am reading this, I feel like it just punctures my heart and ravages it whole! It is so sad. So powerful. The second trait of Hynes poetry is repetition. Often times, Maureen Hynes uses repetition to get her words and phrases to have more of a deepened meaning. This is showcased in “Kindly Stops” as there is a line like: “Te amo, Te amo, Te amo -o-o-o-o-o-o”. Hynes employed my device of powerful emotion through this as she uses the “I love you” in spanish to help prove her point of love being powerful. This really helps the reader understand the intensity of the love. I love you, I love you, I love you-uuuuuuuuuu”. The repetition works here because it allows readers to be able to see the three kinds of calls for love, the soft one, the louder one and the repeated and elongated one.

Last but not least, the third trait of Hynes poetry is being narrative based prose. She tells a story! Often times when you read a Hynes poem, you are being told a story. There is a beginning, a middle and an end. It is not abrupt, it does not just stop halfway. It leaves the reader satisfied with the ways in which they read the narrative. In “”Plaza De Puerto De Moros”, the narrative of love through a locational instance is portrayed. The speaker in this poem equates “Like fire the birds seem never to rest”. (HOW AMAZING IS THAT LINE, FIRE DOES NOT REST AND NEITHER DO THE RESTLESSNESS OF BIRDS!) and uses lines like “Darling, I said, over almonds and olives and Spanish beer, their spinning and darting reminds me of love, moving the parts of our bodies without sound”. This line helps showcase the narrative-style that Maureen often uses in her poetry. It feels like every single poem could become a short story in and of itself. Maureen uses my assigned tool of imagery in this very well to help differentiate the different kinds of storytelling that exists in the writing world. In “Mailbox”, the imagery and narrative styling used helps showcase that loss is sudden. One day you could be out mailing letters or doing laundry and the next you receive a phone call, telling you that your uncle/brother/cousin/love of your life is no longer with you and that he is dead. The immediacy of it throws off the reader and is what makes the poem so impactful. In “Kindly Stops”, the poem uses the vehicle of love to help transport us through the narrative. It says “Osorno, Chile” at the top of the poem so this point of location helps set up the geographical location of the poems background. The poem sways from telling you about “The car of love” to professing the love the speaker has by repeating “Te amo, Te amo, Te amo-o-o-o-o-o-o-“. This point of a switch helps readers see how powerful a story can become when a location and a little bit of love is sprinkled in.

Ultimately, it was so wonderful learning from Maureen Hynes and getting to hear her read her poems + a new poem that is not yet published. It really helped put a face and a voice to the beautiful and impactful poetry of Maureen Hynes.

the-poison-colourHYNES HANDOUT: 

  1. Maureen Hynes often provides intense emotion with few words tied together so eloquently. This is showcased in “Mailbox” and “Sleepwalk” and “Further and Further West” Create a poem with this type of methodology. Try to use the least words to evoke a type of image to your reader. 
  2. Maureen Hynes uses repetition in many of her poems to get a point across deeper. In “Kindly Stops” she uses “Te amo” and stretches the words to help showcase the intensity of the emotion of love. Create a 10-15 line stanza that sets up the reader for this same kind of feeling. Use repetition! 

 

 

 

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